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Reader Questions and Answers

What is the best temperature for serving sparkling wine?

A bottle of champagne should be served chilled. Depending on the style, serve champagne between 40 and 45 degrees F., with the best bottles being served at the upper end of the range. Be sure the bottle is chilled before opening since a warm bottle will have more pressure build up, which is more dangerous and will cause some of the sparkle to be lost.

Brut or Extra Dry?
What designated style is sweeter, brut or extra dry?

Extra dry is sweeter than brut. Brut translates to ‘raw’ or ‘rough’ and has a lower residual sugar than extra dry. Brut is drier than extra dry!

How many bubbles are in an average bottle?

Scientist Bill Lembeck estimated there are about 49 million bubbles in a bottle of champagne. Other estimates have been even higher.

Where does champagne come from?

Champagne is only from the Champagne region of France. Other wine that is bubbly/fizzy should not be called champagne*. It is ‘sparkling wine’, or possibly a designation that points out another specific origination such as cava from Spain or prosecco from Italy or Cremant from areas other than Champagne in France.

*There are still a couple of “California Champagnes” that have their names grandfathered through U.S. regulations, but they can never be sold in Europe and any new producer in the U.S. can not use the term.

Cap or no cap?
When is the word "champagne" capitalized?

Champagne is capitalized when it is referring to the area/region of ‘la Champagne’. It is also capitalized when used with a proper name. It is not capitalized when it refers to the beverage, ‘le champagne’. However, you will find frequent deviations from this rule.

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